Silchar: Questions are now being raised in knowledgeable circles about the fate of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 passed by the Lok Sabha, but could not be brought under the ambit of discussion due to noisy scenes and disruptions caused by the opposition. According to advocate Dharmananda Deb and well in know of Constitutional procedures, the Bill in question is now kept in ‘animated suspension’. He added to say as per Rule 96 of the Rules of procedure and conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, a Bill passed by Lok Sabha is required to be transmitted to Rajya Sabha.
In respect of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, he pointed out it was transmitted to Rajya Sabha immediately, without any loss of time after the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha. The Secretary General tabled the transmitted Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on the very next day i.e. on January 9, 2019 in Rajya Sabha. Therefore the question of ‘not tabling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill’ and or ‘withdrawal of the Bill’ does not arise, Dharmananda Deb explained. The reality is that the Bill could not be discussed and passed in Rajya Sabha due mainly to the disruptive interruptions by Congress MPs Bhubaneswar Kalita and Ripun Bora.
There is every possibility that the Bill might be introduced in the Budget Session of Parliament which begins from January 31, 2019 and this will be the last Parliamentary session of the NDA government. In case, as Dharmananda Deb said, if the Bill could not be taken up for discussion in Rajya Sabha or could not be passed, the government has more than one option. It could call a Joint Session of Parliament.
Deb referred to Article 108 of Constitution which mandates that a Joint Session of Parliament can be summoned in the following situations. If after a Bill has been passed by one House and submitted to the other House, the Bill is rejected by the other House or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill or more than six months have elapsed from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it. Under these situations the President of India, if fully satisfied, may summon joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament.
It is also clarified that all bills cannot be referred to the joint sitting of Parliament. The exceptions are money bill and Constitution Amendment Bill. Or the Cabinet can send proposal to the President of India for promulgating Ordinance under Article 123 of the Constitution. The legislative power is available to the President only when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session to enact laws. Additionally, the President cannot promulgate an Ordinance unless he ‘is satisfied’ that there are circumstances that require taking ‘immediate action’. In other words, it is yet to have final word on the Bill which has generated so much heat and dust in Assam in particular.
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